“Many are called but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
Presented here is the basic argument to “why God chose some and not others.”
“The Arminian says that God was guided by his foreknowledge, that he chose some because he saw beforehand that they would believe the Gospel and rejected others because he knew that they would not do so. The Calvinist would say that God was guided by nothing but His own good pleasure, His sovereign, free will.” 1
R.B. Kuiper explains the difference between fatalism and Calvinism.
“Fate is an impersonal, cold, hard, relentless force, but the God of the Calvinist is a personal being with love as his very essence, good in many ways even to the reprobate.” 1
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“…not because of works but because of him who calls.” Rom. 9:11
Those that are saved were predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him (Eph. 1:4). They are elected to be children of God and heirs of eternal glory.
Louis Berkhof explains “the biblical idea of election.”
That eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of men to be the recipients of special grace and of eternal salvation. More briefly it may be said to be God’s eternal purpose to save some of the human race in and by Jesus Christ. 2
God does NOT choose his children to salvation because he saw them acknowledge a need of a savior (Rom. 9:11). Don’t get me wrong, our good works are important. But God prepared those good works for His plan (Eph. 2:10). Haven’t we been saved by grace (Eph. 2:8)? So if salvation is by grace, it is no longer the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace (Rom. 11:6).
Berkhof continues by explaining how election is unconditional.
Election does not in any way depend on the foreseen faith of good works of man, as the Arminians teach, but exclusively on the sovereign good pleasure of God, who is also the originator of faith and good works. 2
“…as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
Since all men are sinners and have forfeited the blessings of God, there is no basis for such a distinction in them; and since even the faith and good works of the believers are the fruit of the grace of God, Eph. 2:8-10; II Tim. 2:21, even these, as foreseen by God, could not furnish such a basis. 2
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“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” John 15:16
While reading John Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion in the chapter titled Eternal Election, or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation, and of Others to Destruction, one can only come to the conclusion that Calvin was very cautious when speaking of predestination and election.
John Calvin offers this warning…
The discussion of predestination–a subject of itself rather intricate–is made very perplexed, and therefore dangerous, by human curiosity, which no barriers can restrain from wandering into forbidden labyrinths, and soaring beyond its sphere, as if determined to leave none of the Divine secrets unscrutinized or unexplored.
As we see multitudes every where guilty of this arrogance and presumption, and among them some who are not censurable in other respects, it is proper to admonish them of the bound of their duty on this subject. 3
And in a later chapter, Calvin further heeds his warnings…
But though the discussion of predestination may be compared to a dangerous ocean, yet, in traversing over it, the navigation is safe and serene, and I will also add pleasent, unless any one freely wishes to expose himself to danger.
For as those who, in order to gain an assurance of their election, examine into the eternal counsel of God without the WORD, plunge themselves into a fatal abyss, so they who investigate it in a regular and orderly manner, as it is contained in the WORD, derive from such inquiry the benefit of peculiar consolation. Let this, then, be our way of inquiry; to begin and end with the calling of God. 4
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In conclusion, why does God chose some and not others? Because He is God and we are NOT (I Tim. 1:8-9, Job 38:4).
- Kuiper, R.B. As To Being Reformed pp. 97, 98
- Berkhof, Louis Systematic Theology pp. 114, 115
- Calvin, John Institues of Christian Religion Book III, ch. 21
- Calvin, John Institutes of Christian Religion Book III, ch. 24.4